How To Maxi-Mise Your Motoring Enjoyment

WORDS: Greg Pride PHOTOGRAPHY Brian Usher - [email protected]

THEY might be MINI by name but definitely ‘MAXI’ when it comes to motoring fun.

The MINI has been an automotive style icon since the swinging ‘60s, when the car was made famous in crime caper The Italian Job, starring Michael Caine and Noel Coward.

Since then, the inimitable Mr Bean (Rowan Atkinson), Austin Powers (Mike Myers) and Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) in The Bourne Identity have further helped put the MINI on the global motoring map.

The new-generation MINIS boast all the cheeky style that has come to make the marque one of the most beloved in the world, but with the state–of–the–art technology, design, quality and sophistication for which the brand’s manufacturer, BMW, is renowned.

MINI has been owned by BMW since 2000 and has firmly established itself as the prestige German manufacturer’s somewhat “naughty” brand – and one that’s truly wicked to drive!

Gold Coast BMW/Gold Coast MINI Garage is the exclusive dealer for MINI on the Gold Coast and northern NSW and is currently showcasing the latest model fully electric MINI Cooper SE and the hugely popular Countryman Cooper SUV, which comes in four variants.

Dealership sales manager Johan Fourie said within the Beemer stable, MINI has often been overshadowed by its ‘big brother’ brands BMW and Rolls Royce but has now emerged as one of the company’s shining stars.

“When BMW took over the brand, they redesigned it but kept the same MINI look and ‘go-kart’ feel,” he says. “They started adding more and more BMW tech to the MINIS whilst keeping the unique ‘MINI-ness’ that makes the cars one of the funnest in the world to drive.

“They’ve progressively added more models to the line-up so instead of just having the old MINI 3-door and 5-door, they incorporated the Clubman which is almost like a station wagon in MINI form.

“As the whole world went crazy with SUVs, we got the MINI Cooper S Countryman which is the MINI SUV and they just took off. Currently, they would equate to 50 to 60 percent of all MINI sales.”

Johan says the big appeal of the Countryman is that it looks and feels like a MINI, but with the spaciousness of a small SUV.

“It’s the adventurer of the MINI brand, particularly the electric MINI Cooper SE and top-of-the-range John Cooper Works which are both 4WDs,” he says.

The 7-speed, 3-cylinder entry-level ‘Classic’ Cooper S Countryman comes with five colour choices, 18” alloy wheels, bonnet strips, leather cross punch upholstery, heated front seats, interior LED lights package, dynamic cruise control, park distance control (including Parking Assist), MINI Navigation system with 8.8” touch display and real-time traffic information, LED fog and headlights, Union Jack tail lights and silver roof rails.

Upgrade to the Cooper S and you get extras including nine colour choices, 19” alloys, four luxurious interior choices, anthracite headliner, electric seat adjustment, panorama sunroof, sun protection glazing, roof rails in piano black and a MINI head-up display.

The single-speed auto SE model comes with all the same bells and whistles but features  4WD and a plug-in hybrid motor capable of reaching 0-100KM/h in 6.8 seconds.

Topping out the Countryman range is the ALL4 JCW Sport, with eight colour choices, 18” JCW Grip Spoke alloys, JCW aerodynamic package, adaptive suspension, dinamica (suede) leather JCW sport seats, anthracite headliner, MINI head-up display, panorama sunroof, sun protection glazing and roof rails in piano black. “JCW is almost like the performance side of MINI, similar to BMW’s M,” Johan says. “It pushes 225kW of power, which is a lot for a relatively small SUV.

“These cars come really well-equipped, right from the entry-level model. The whole range has all the bells and whistles as far as the tech and safety is concerned, it’s just the level of luxury that increases with the higher models.” The Countryman’s interiors and exteriors can be personalised with options for contrasting roof and mirror caps, bonnet stripes and leather trim colours.

MINI Connected – with RTTI, Apple CarPlay, smartphone-controlled remote access and Intelligent Emergency Call – is standard across the Countryman range.

The MINI Cooper SE 3-door hatch offers all the same hi-tech and design features as the Countryman as well as 17” alloys, seven colour choices, anthracite headliner, ambient lighting, MINI Yours Leather Lounge/Chester Interior Worlds, MINI Yours floor mats, MINI Yours exterior badge, panorama sunroof, sun protection glazing, MINI head-up display and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

Personalisation options include a multi-tone roof, eye-catchingly playful “Energetic Yellow” mirror caps and Carbon Black, Satellite Grey or Chester Malt Brown interior leather.

“The Cooper SE is the first fully electric MINI and it’s paving the way for the way MINI is heading, because by 2030 we will not be manufacturing any vehicles with internal combustion engines – it will be fully electric across the brand,” Johan says.

“It’s a traditional MINI, 3-door with that ‘go-kart’ feel, but it’s electric so you can drive one and enjoy the fun in the knowledge that you’re also helping save the planet.”

Johan says the battery range of the Cooper SE hatch is “anywhere from 170km to 220km” depending on variables including driving habits.

“It’s a very decent range – it’s the perfect car for city living and short-distance driving,” he says.

“The MINI market has traditionally been predominantly female but with the line-up now, particularly the addition of the Countryman, it really does appeal to everyone.”

Gold Coast BMW/Gold Coast MINI Garage customers can take advantage of heavily discounted wall chargers, which are also available free with certain MINI Finance deals.

The dealership also offers 90-minute ‘fast-lane’ services while customers wait for their vehicles in the comfort of the lounge, offering free barista-made coffee and snacks.

Such has been the incredible growth of MINI that the brand sold out during Covid, but Johan says Gold Coast BMW/Gold Coast MINI Garage now has plenty of stock coming in.

“The Covid supply chain issues that affected a lot of brands and dealerships have now been resolved so customers can rest assured they don’t have to wait months to get their hands on a new MINI,” he says.

“We have a steady flow of both Countryman and Cooper SE’s coming in, with vehicles available both for test drive and to drive away.”

  • If you want to experience the thrill of a new MINI, be sure to give Gold Coast MINI Garage’s expert and friendly Liam Moat a call on 557 7999 to arrange a test drive